South African Health Minister Joe Phaahla said the country was already preparing resources for the fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic that is expected in the coming months.
“As has been repeated a number of times before, a resurgence of infections introducing the fourth wave is expected as we see in other countries especially in Europe currently like Germany and Ukraine going through their fourth wave. Our national team is working with provincial teams to prepare for the fourth wave,” he said.
“The health facilities’ readiness plan is addressing areas such as oxygen supply of which the bulk supplier has finalized contingency plans. Other areas such as bed capacity, equipment, PPEs, and consumables are also receiving attention,” Xinhua news agency quoted the Minister as saying.
As the second and third waves were dominated by the Beta and Delta variants respectively, researchers had already begun monitoring the emergence of new variants.
“Our genomic sequencing teams are monitoring any variants of concern but thus far there has not been any alarm. The other contributor which is the movement of people is inevitable as we get closer to the festive season,” he said.
According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, 356 new Covid-19 cases were registered in South Africa in the last 24 hours with 17 deaths.
Over 13 million people have been fully vaccinated in South Africa.
Phahlaa was pleased that the number of new cases was still low following the campaign gatherings for the November 1 local government elections.
“We are pleased to report that indications thus far eleven days after the campaigns and voting we have not experienced super spreading after-effects. Thus, so far not a single province or district has shown signs of a spike in Covid-19 infections,” he said.
Though vaccines are available in South Africa, vaccine hesitancy continues to be an issue, which is why the government will continue the Vooma campaign this weekend.
Vooma is a campaign designed to promote vaccinations and dispel vaccine myths.
This weekend, state officials, including cabinet members, will tour different communities to promote the vaccine as part of the campaign.